Penitent Sister

Hill-coverAfter yesterday’s post, I laughed and laughed because that was a fun post to write! I told my Beloved, I don’t care if anybody else enjoys the post, I had fun writing it!

But suddenly, in the midst of my laughter, it occurred to me the joke actually might end up being on me! There’s sort of an unwritten rule about lampooning … if the object one uses hasn’t earned iconic status, the joke almost always falls flat.

In my case, I got to thinking about the news reports I’ve been reading that indicate Hillary Clinton’s recent book release isn’t getting the numbers (in sales) that everyone hoped. Uh-oh!

One headline reads:  No one is reading “Hard Choices,” either. The article beneath the headline notes people may purchase but fail to complete the tome. Using a metric that gauges how far into a book readers progress before setting the book aside, Amazon rates Hard Choices as averaging a dismal 2.04%. That’s about 33 pages through this volume of 657 pages!

Another headline says:  Execs on notice after Hillary’s book sales tank. Let me quickly point out that “tank” is a relative term. It would probably be kinder to say the book has not performed as publishers and booksellers had hoped, but its fourth-place standing on the Nielsen book-scan list is hardly the tank.

However, as I began to think about whether or not the book (cover art shown above) has yet to earn “iconic status” – as in immediately recognizable by almost everyone who sees it – I’m not comfortable believing the book has yet reached that pinnacle. Hence, my need to admit the joke’s probably on me, because few may have understood my silly effort was meant to lampoon! Silly me!

Egg on my face, yep. But did that stop me? What do you think? Continue Reading →

Dream A Little Dream

As a writer, I’m subject to the same inclinations as almost every other writer throughout time:  the unquenchable desire to have my words appear in print. I have had the privilege of selling poetry, prose and fiction, but to date, there isn’t a book on the shelf that declares me as its author.im-writing-a-book

Of course, I’ve compiled a book for you to write (another link here), but I consider that a completely different product. This particular book does have my name in it … but not on the cover because you must tell your story as you complete the book and only you can tell that story (not me).

When I was a younger woman, I often dreamed about the books I wanted to write … someday. I also used to dream about an agent (or a publishing house) calling me out of the blue to solicit my upcoming bestseller! (I told you it was a dream!) I had this delusional notion that my brilliance was so obvious, these publishing entities should jump at the chance to snag me into their stable, though I’d never even produced a book-length manuscript!! [I have now but it's non-fiction.] Continue Reading →

Fleeing Silence

Silence. Many of us don’t do well coping with silence. In my own case, I’m a second-generation silence-shunner. During my childhood, I remember my mother almost always had a radio playing in the background. Both she and my dad slept to the muffled sounds of a radio providing ambient noise.

Music provides my preferred background sounds and I have a diverse collection of music on iTunes, a couple weeks’ worth, if played 24/7. At night, I don’t use a radio (deferring to my Beloved!) but I usually rely on a fan for constant sound. 

Some mothers who’ve raised their offspring are known to dread the silence that results from an empty nest. Suddenly-single spouses (whether single by death or divorce) may encounter the loneliness of silence causing unexpected stress. In fact, the concepts of loneliness and silence are often coupled. Excruciating loss (as one suffers after death of a spouse) brings both loneliness and silence into painful focus. (Thankfully, I’m not speaking from experience, but I can imagine.) Continue Reading →

Unlocking the Gnome Genome

FROM: Gartenzwerg by EddyDD

With all that’s going on in the world right now, it’s a fitting day for whimsy …don’t you think?

Anticipating the arrival of my European relatives in a couple weeks, I couldn’t help but think about my Germanic roots and how those roots have influenced my life, probably in ways I know as well as via my subconscious.

Gnomes are a whimsical creation of German origin, so I’m told by various online resources. The Brothers Grimm (who else?) included their tale number 91, The Gnome, in one of their collections of fairy tales.

Every time I read (or re-read) one of these fairy tales, I’m reminded how absolutely unfiltered these stories are. This amuses me because I know literature for children today covers certain allowable themes while other themes are way off limits. I think Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm would be aghast at today’s strict and puzzling approach. Continue Reading →

Digital Discovery

Italian researchers are conducting tests that determine how sociable twins are in utero and their discoveries (with the aid of ultrasonography) show babies as young as 14 weeks gestation are interacting in the womb! I think this is fascinating research.Twins-intrauterine

We already understand how social humans are after birth. Isn’t it amazing to have a glimpse at the social behavior of twins even before they’re born?! They’re not yet speaking. I doubt they have a developed sense of smell and amniotic fluid may prevent that development. We already know their ears are differentiating sounds.

Because of the research, it’s clear these unborn baby twins are successfully making contact, using their tactile ability to discover each other. Gestures of care and love (reaching out, stroking, etc.) reflect the importance of touch even at this early age. We are social creatures to be sure!

But let’s talk briefly about the reverse side of that coin. I’ve been tripping (virtually) across numerous discussions of how detrimental social media is to our culture. If, as I maintain, we are social creatures, why should there be concern about social media? Aren’t we just acting according to our natures? Continue Reading →

Off The Links

During the four weekends when there are major golf tournaments (Masters, US Open, The Open and PGA Championships), my Beloved keeps our family room television tuned into the events. Since we also have a DVR, he’s usually recording the entire coverage … in the event he misses something or notices a swing he’d like to study a bit closer. This is what it’s like to live with a man who’s carried a lifelong love of the Game.the-open-championship-e1342569020137

Before we were married, I’d never even played a round of golf. (My sports were softball and baseball.) In the early days of our marriage, we were too poor to golf regularly, but Sunday afternoons, we’d both be at home relaxing. Sooner or later, we’d gravitate to the cheap entertainment provided by our television where a broadcast of one golf tournament or another was playing. Even though I knew little about the game, I’d sit down to watch it with my Beloved. That’s how I came to understand golf, long before I’d ever played a round. Continue Reading →

Help to Live

From the first time I heard the euphemistic term Death with Dignity, I thought it surely had to be a joke. This laughable term describes one’s desire to ease into death, much as one might slip into bed one night … and never wake again. hypodermicThe principle adherents of the death-with-dignity mentality are usually individuals who’ve received a terminal diagnosis. Some supporters are hoping to avoid the high costs of dying while others hope to minimize the pain associated with extended illnesses or others just prefer to pull the trigger (so to speak) at a time of their choosing. 

I’ve always argued the notion of death with dignity is absurd. First and foremost, we’ve all been given a terminal diagnosis; the day each of us was born, we were born with the exact same destiny: death. Is that harsh? Regrettably, it’s true. Continue Reading →

Three’s a Crowd

A poetic form that closely resembles the sonnet is the terza rima. Italian poet Dante is said to have originated this form and he used it in his epic work, The Divine Comedy.Dante-The-Divine-Comedy-Inferno-Purgatory-Paradise-Carlyle-Okey-Wicksteed-unabridged-Blackstone-Audio

The terza rima form was later used by Chaucer and eventually, English romantic poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley found the form workable for their poetry. Probably one of the most familiar English poems to employ the form is Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind. This ode offers five stanzas of fourteen lines each, with each stanza comprised of four tercets (3 lines grouped together) and a concluding couplet.

Since the foundation for terza rima is its fourteen-line format, it may be easily mistaken for a sonnet. However, the rhyme scheme (a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d, e-e) distinguishes it from the sonnet. (For a sonnet celebrating the sonnet form, see my post here.)  Continue Reading →

Be It Ever So Humble

After yesterday’s post about tiny houses, I started thinking about the overall concept of home. This four-letter word obviously means many different things to many different people. Obviously, one’s concept of home may be attached to both a place and specific people associated with that place. Or in certain cases, it’s not a question of place as long as one is surrounded with the people themselves.home-sweet-home

For many of us, there are songs associated with the concept of home that evoke specific and heartfelt memories. The public broadcasting television station in Arkansas used to sign off the air each day with one particular song, Arkansas, You Run Deep In Me by Wayland Holyfield. The linked video provides not only beautiful music but highlights memorable sites around our state.

One of the verses to this song says:  I may wander but when I do, I will never be far from you. You’re in my blood and I know you’ll always be. Arkansas, you run deep in me. (Read the complete lyrics here.) Continue Reading →

Mobile Home Nation?

When I walked into the family room this morning, my Beloved was tuned into a show with a topic he’s been interested in for several years. The show was Tiny House Nation on the fyi tv network. (Truth be told, I’ve never even heard of this network before!) Because I know my Beloved’s interest in the tiny house concept, I sat down to watch with him.tiny-house-outside

Word of warning, my Beloved watches lots of house renovation and do-it-yourself shows. I’m more likely to watch the HGTV’s HouseHunters International because I enjoy seeing what kind of living quarters people can locate overseas. It’s my idea of vacationing without having to go out my front door.

My more practical spouse is thinking about the temptations (his, not mine) to down-size and simplify life. When he contemplates the tiny house concept, he’s not thinking 1500 square feet (which would be about two-and-a-half times smaller than our current living space). He’s closer to thinking in the 300-500 square feet of space. So far, he hasn’t offered me a convincing argument for the reduction. But he hasn’t given up on the idea. Continue Reading →

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